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Not your grandma’s Grammys: 2011 Grammy performances

For a viewer, award shows can be a draining process. They’re lengthy, and a majority of the categories are absolutely irrelevant to most of the audience. The

Grammys, though, are a different breed. Instead of clogging airtime with awards, they hand out only 10 during the actual broadcast and fill up three and a

half hours with performances. Not all are worth remembering, though; some are as middling as technical awards. As there were 16 performances this year,

some are a necessary add to any YouTube playlist and others are better relegated to performance hell.

Bruno Mars/B.o.B./Janelle Monae

Three extremely talented, young artists combined for one of the most refreshing performances on the evening. B.o.B. rocked a monocle and pulled it off,

making him the coolest monocle-sporter this side of Mr. Peanut. The three collaborated on a slowed down “Nothin’ on You,” with Mars and Monae backing

with instruments and vocals. Mars’s soul throwback helped to freshen up his overplayed hit “Grenade,” and he and B.o.B. even showed their skills during

Monae’s “Cold War,” playing the drums and guitar, respectively.

Lady Gaga
It’s not entirely clear if she was intentionally embracing the Madonna comparisons to her new single “Born This Way” or just oblivious to what she was

doing, though with Gaga, everything seems meticulously calculated and practiced. From the harsh blonde ponytail to the “Vogue”-like moves, it was a very

1980s Madonna performance and was missing the severe theatrics (besides the egg hatching) to make it a memorable one.

Mumford & Sons/Avett Brothers/Bob Dylan
Making folk-infused music popular isn’t common, but to a degree, it’s something Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers have done as of late. The king of it,

though, is Bob Dylan, and after each dominating their own songs, the two bands played backup for Dylan on “Maggie’s Farm,” culminating in one

transcendent performance that even the most anti-folk person could respect.

Cee-Lo Green/Gwyneth Paltrow
Mars and Co. seemed to have the best performance of the night locked down early until Cee-Lo took the stage. Even without using the original lyrics, the

performance was visually enticing, Muppets and all. Paltrow continued her talent-proving media circus and kept up with Cee-Lo, but she stood out for her

plainness, with just a black skintight jumpsuit and feather earrings. Cee-Lo’s Muppet-ized Elton John-tribute costume was easily the highlight of the night,

making him look like a colorful turkey ready for space battle.

Justin Bieber/Usher/Jaden Smith

Where to begin? Apparently all a Grammy performance takes is some cool dance moves, nostalgic videos and leather. Bieber oversang “Baby,” akin to a diva

trying too hard to belt out the National Anthem. Jaden Smith’s cameo was only necessary to show that all of young Hollywood is connected and that his rap

skills are about as bad as his dad’s. Usher’s performance of “OMG” was too close on the heels of his Super Bowl one to have any real entertaining effect, and

both were too dull to be entertaining.

Lady Antebellum/Miranda Lambert
Though two separate acts, both were very similar. Compared to the other spectacles of the night, they were much more subdued, simply showcasing what

abilities they have rather than actually engaging the audience. While Lambert sounded strong, she looked nervous and slightly disconnected. Lady

Antebellum’s performance was similar.

Arcade Fire
The last few minutes of the telecast provided for some surprising and exciting moments. After crushing “Month of May,” though inducing some headaches

with all the lights, Arcade Fire won Album of the Year and hit the stage yet again. Frontman Win Butler’s reasoning? “We are going to play another song

because we like music.” The passion-filled, heartfelt, exhilarating performance was the perfect way to celebrate music and cap off a surprisingly not terrible

night.